- Vision & Eye Care
Dry Eye Syndrome or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
Dry Eye Terms
Keratitis sicca. Generally used to describe dryness and inflammation of the cornea.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Used to describe dry eye that affects both the cornea and the conjunctiva.
Dysfunctional tear syndrome. Used to emphasize that inadequate quality of tears can be just as important as inadequate quantity.
Dye eye disease
Or Simply Dry Eye
Dry Eye Syndrome in Layman’s Terms
Tears are made by glands behind your upper eyelid. Every time you blink, the tears are pushed across your eye, keeping it moist. They flow into tiny openings, called tear ducts, in the inner corners of your eyelids, where they drain away. Your eyes need tears to stay clean and healthy.
With dry eye syndrome, your tear glands don't make enough tears or your tears evaporate too fast.
This abnormality may result in disruption of the ocular surface, causing a variety of symptoms and signs and interference with quality of life. When the lacrimal glands fail to produce sufficient tears, dry eye can result.
In most cases, dry eyes can be managed successfully, but I- may not be completely curable.
Your tears are a complex mixture of water, fatty oils and mucus.
This mixture helps make the surface of your eyes smooth and clear, and it helps protect your eyes from infection.
Taking care of your eyes is as important health wise - as exercising or eating correctly.
How is it diagnosed?
Your eye doctor (ophthalmologist) can diagnose this condition.
A Schirmer’s test may also be used to measure how quickly your eyes produce tears
Or your doctor may refer you to a specialist – depending on your condition what specialist that will be – it could perhaps be an allergist.
How Many Have Dry Eyes
According to a 2012 Gallup poll – 26 million Americans suffer from ‘dry eyes’ and this is expected to increase to 29 million within 10 years.
That means about 48 percent of Americans age 18 and older experience this condition.
Five million over 50 years old have dry eyes and twice as many women as men have this condition.
What are tears, and how do they relate to dry eye?
1. Tears bathe the surface of the eye, keeping it moist and wash away dust and debris.
2. They also help protect the eye from bacterial and other types of infections.
3. Tears, made by the lacrimal gland, are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision.
4. Tears are constantly produced to bathe, nourish, and protect the eye surface.
Always remember: Check with your eye doctor for your specific eye condition – don’t self diagnose, they are the experts and have the knowledge and experience
When tears do not adequately lubricate the eye, a person may experience:
Remember: If you have any of the following symptoms – see your eye doctor.
A gritty sensation
A feeling of a foreign body or sand in the eye
Episodes of excess ears following very dry eye periods
Scratchy and irritated
Blurring of vision or episodes of blurred vision
The feeling of sticky eyelids
Inability to cry when emotionally stresses
Uncomfortable wearing of contact lenses
Stringy mucus in the eyes.
Your eyes get tired faster
May have difficulty reading or sitting at the computer for long periods or any activity that requires sustained visual attention
The feeling of sand in your eyes
If you have ‘dry eye’ - don’t use eyedrops that are meant to treat red, bloodshot eyes. Those might make your eyes feel worse. Try blinking more often.
7 Herbs that are good for Dry Eyes:
Evening Primrose Oil
Green Tea Leaf Extract
Ocuvite has many of these vitamins in it – because most Americans are deficient in Omega-3 nutrients.
Ask your eye doctor about these treatments.
1. Punctal plugs and punctal occlusion by cautery (application of heat to tear exit duct).
2. Lipiflow is a medical device that uses heat and pressure on the eyelids to unclog blocked glands.
3. Restasis for the treatment of chronic dry eye. It helps your eyes increase their own tear production with continued use.
4. Xiidra is a new class of drug called lymphocyte function-associated antigen.
5. Steroid eyedrops can be used for short periods of time as an adjunct to other long-term measures.
6. Intense Pulsed Light. A hand-held device flashes bright light onto the skin.
7. Meibomian Gland Expression.
8. Lacrisert – a sterile, slow-release lubricant that is placed under the lower eye.
Make Up Of Your Eye
Three main layers make up your eye.
1. The inner mucus (mucin) layer is the thinnest. It is a layer of mucin (or mucus). The mucus helps the overlying watery layer to spread evenly over the eye.
2. The watery middle (aqueous) layer is the largest and the thickest. This layer is essentially a very dilute saltwater solution. The lacrimal glands under the upper lids and the accessory tear glands produce this watery layer. The function of this layer is to keep the eye moist and comfortable, as well as to help flush out any dust, debris, or foreign objects that may get into the eye. Defects of the aqueous layer are the most common cause of dry eye syndrome, also referred to as dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)
3. There’s the oily (lipid) outer layer and the most superficial layer is a very thin layer of lipids (fats or oils). The meibomian glands and the glands of Zeis (oil glands in the eyelids) produce these lipids. The main function of this lipid layer is to help decrease evaporation of the watery layer beneath.
If the glands that produce the various elements of your tears are inflamed or don’t produce enough water, oil, or mucus, it can lead to dry eye syndrome. When oil is missing from your tears, they quickly evaporate and your eyes cannot maintain a steady supply of moisture.
1. Artificial teardrops, liquid gel and ointments. (These are purchased over the counter – check with your eye doctor first before using. And remember - one eye solution may work better than another. (For instance: ‘Liquigel Eye Gel’ works better for me.)
2. Limit time in air-conditioned or heated rooms. (I found that air blowing from wind, fans or other means - dry out my eyes faster)
3. Warm compresses can help. (allow five minutes at least once a day)
4. Nutritional Supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids and flaxseed oil to relieve dry eye and drinking more water,
5. Blink more frequently.
6. Frequent breaks during computer use.
When Will You May Need More Tears:
1. Wind, smoke or dry air
2. Blinking less often, which tends to occur when you're concentrating, for example, while reading, driving or working at a computer, watching TV, or performing a task that requires close attention with the eyes, a person may not blink as often.
3. If you have had a stroke or Bell’s palsy, make it difficult to close the eyes.
4. Eyelid problems, such as out-turning of the lids (ectropion) and in-turning of the lids (entropion) This can be due to dry air from air conditioning, heat, or other environmental conditions.
5. Abnormal production of mucin by the conjunctiva may occur. This can result from chemical (alkali) burns to the eye or because of different autoimmune diseases, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and cicatricial pemphigoid. This abnormal production leads to poor spreading of the tears over the surface of the eye. The surface of the eye can dry out and even become damaged, even though more than enough watery tears may be present.
6. Just being tired can cause dry, scratchy eyes.
7. Cigarette smoke.
8. Wearing contact lenses for too many hours at a time.
Dry eyes can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as reading, computer work, and your eyes may get tired faster. Check – you may need more drops or a different kind.
20 cities have more affect on your eyes than others:
Las Vegas, Nev.
El Paso, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Some medicines have an affect on your eyes, including antihistamines, antidepressants, birth control pills, certain blood pressure medications and more.
Before taking medicines – check with your doctor and pharmacists to see if it will have an affect on you.
Without adequate tears, you may have an increased risk of eye infection.
If left untreated, severe dry eyes may lead to eye inflammation, abrasion of the corneal surface, corneal ulcer and vision problems.
Dry eye syndrome can affect the outcome of LASIK and Cataract surgery.
Long- Term Outlook
Although it’s uncomfortable, dry eye syndrome almost never causes permanent vision loss.
Dry eye syndrome usually doesn’t permanently affect your vision.
You can considerably decrease your discomfort with treatment.
In rare cases, eye infections and ulcers can occur and will need to be treated separately.
If you have dry eye syndrome, your eyes may also be prone to bacterial infections or the surface of your eyes may become inflamed, causing scarring on your cornea.